Sunday, March 6, 2011

To Work My Son...............

O.K. here is the long awaited post to explain where I have been.

As most of my friends know, one of my greatest joys is working on projects. These projects primarily consist of making or modifying items used in living history-reenactments. It all started in early December when I decided to cobble together a 17th century bandoleer of powder bottles as a Christmas gift for my best buddy, Ms. Nancy. (She has a matchlock musket that was just screaming out for it)Hers went together so well, I figured that I could make up
one for me and my doglock musket. That went together well too, so I started looking at a pile of various odds and ends that I have been gathering together when I was struck with what my dear wife calls "project fever". Bless her heart, my dear wife knows when I get into one of these "fevers" the best thing that can happen is to let it work out of my system. So for most of January and February I spent time eating, sleeping and working in my shop. I turned out a lot of stuff and got a big start on a bunch of other items.

Allow me to show off a few of the items I have done.

Hunting Sword with Shoulder Carriage

I made up this hunting sword for a young lad in my hospital unit. It's made by grinding out a flat piece of steel for the blade, a heavily modified guard, the handle is made of green dyed deer antler and has a hand poured pommel.I also did the shoulder carriage,hand sewed out of leather, the sword scabbard is wood covered with pig skin, just to aggravate any Islamic fascist that the lad might run into. (grin)

Bowie Knives

The knife on the left is similar to those that I have seen having been made in New Orleans. It has German silver guard and pins and ebony scales.

The center knife is a camp knife with brass hardware and rosewood scales. Because of it's weight and length, I think it will make a handy tool if needed for zombie defense.

The knife on the right is what I call a Texas style bowie with brass hardware and rosewood scales. It also has a "coffin" shaped handle (I like this style of bowie more than any other)

You might be able to notice that the blades are swirl damascus steel.

Plug Bayonets

The knife on the right side is a "officer's quality" with it's polished blade and brass hardware.

The knife on the left is a "munition's quality", something a common soldier would used. The blade is blued, the hardware is steel. Notice the guard also can serve as a hammer to sharpen your flint and can also be used as a screw driver.

Common seaman's knife

The scales are made of bone with a scrimshawed fouled anchor and a red painted Turk's head knot serves as a guard. The scabbard is hand sewn with waxed linen thread.

Leather covered bottle

I took two pieces of wet leather and hand stitched them over a glass bottle. This was commonly done in the colonial period so that people could use bottles as canteens.

During this time I also did several smaller leather projects, refinished three muskets, started four other knives, and either started or finished a lot of other odds and ends. So I was very happy with what I got accomplished. I still have a bit to do, such as final polishing on knives, made up some scabbards and belts, but I have a good head start on getting stuff done before I start the upcoming campaign season.

By the way, this post was approved by Rudi the wonder pup.....


Nancy R. said...

Rudi can't fail!

Chris Grimes said...

Rudi rules!

CTone said...

I would love to get into knife making. Nice work!

Michael W. said...

Thanks CTone,

Any time you want to start working on knives, let me know and I will be glad to help you get started.

TheUnpaidBill said...

Do you make your own damascus steel or buy it?

Nice work on them regardless. Knife making is as much an art as a science, and you have a good eye for a pleasing blade shape.

Old NFO said...

That Texas Bowie is beautiful! Let me know if you decide to do anymore of them!

Michael W. said...


I buy both finished blades and steel blanks that I grind out. I got a buddy that is playing around with making some Damascus out of wire cable. Of course he uses a power trip hammer to forge with. You could work yourself to death with a plain old hammer and anvil doing that kind of stuff. (grin)

Old NFO:

I do things in cycles, I am doing some leather work now to be followed by horn work, I should be back on knives early fall. If you want one, let me know.

TheUnpaidBill said...

Yes Michael, you're right. I've helped make damascus with just a couple regular hammers, a forge, and an anvil. It's a lot of hot, dirty, and dangerous work.